are specially trained registered nurses who administer anesthetics to
patients undergoing medical, dental, and obstetrical procedures. They are
an important member of the surgical team, and usually work under the
direction of the attending surgeon, dentist, or anesthesiologist. Some of
their duties include getting supplies and equipment ready for procedures,
studying and interpreting pre-surgical tests to determine how the
anesthetic will affect the patient, and assuring that an adequate blood
supply is on hand in case of an emergency. In addition to administering
the prescribed anesthetic, nurse anesthetists are trained to monitor the
patients vital signs and communicate the information to the physicians.
They also perform other tasks during these medical procedures, such as
inserting artificial airways, administering oxygen, and attempting to
prevent surgical shock. They may also be called upon to explain the
procedures to patients in an effort to secure cooperation and increase
confidence in the procedure. The position of nurse anesthetist comes with
an extraordinary amount of responsibility, and as a result, it is one of
the highest paid nursing specialties. Anyone interested in this specialty
of nursing should be intelligent, able to solve problems quickly, and able
to handle stressful situations.
usually work in a hospital operating room, but their combination of
nursing skills and knowledge of anesthetics also allows them to work in
birthing centers/obstetrics departments, dental offices, emergency rooms,
plastic surgery centers, and outpatient surgery facilities.
High School Preparation:
interested in a career as a nurse anesthetist should take courses in
biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry, psychology, sociology,
foods and nutrition, health occupations/medical professions education,
physical education, English, computer skills, and foreign languages.
interested in entering a nurse anesthetist program must first obtain a
B.S. in nursing, be a licensed registered nurse (RN), and have at least
one year of critical-care nursing experience. Most programs last 24 to 36
months and consist of demanding graduate level course-work in anatomy,
physiology, chemistry, and pharmacology. To become a Certified Registered
Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), an individual must complete an accredited
program and pass a national certification exam. They must also be
recertified every two years through continuing education programs.
interested in becoming a nurse anesthetist should contact schools for
information on admission and course of study.
For educational institutions in
offering this course of study click here.
According to the US Department of Labor, nursing is the largest health
care related occupation in the country. It is also a profession that is
experiencing a nation-wide shortage. Employment opportunities for
registered nurses are excellent and are expected to grow 21%-35% through
the end of the decade. This statistic also applies to nursing specialists
such as nurse anesthetists. The National Center for Nursing found that
30,000 more CRNAs will be needed by the year 2008 to meet the expected
demand. As the baby-boom generation becomes increasingly older, the
volume of people who will require advanced medical care is projected to
grow very rapidly.
Average Annual Salary
American Association of
222 S. Prospect Avenue
Park Ridge, IL 60068
Phone: (847) 692-7050
Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 100 W.
Washington, DC 20024-2571
Phone: (202) 651-7000
Phone: (800) 274-4ANA (4262)
Mississippi Nurses Association
Madison, MS 39110
Phone: (601) 898-0670